Wednesday, October 29, 2008


How does fall just show up, so scheduled, yet always such a pleasant surprise? Every year I forget that it's coming. Maybe I just try to hang on to those precious summer days a little longer. Yet that day in October when the crisp air hits my face for the first time, it's always unexpected. In the immortal words of Tom Hanks, "it makes me want to buy school supplies" (You've Got Mail). Fall, as does its peppy cousin Spring, reminds me about transitions in life. That nothing stays the same for long, that we may enjoy this brief snippet of time for now. We can think that it will last forever. But soon we will be moving into something new. Summer and Winter seem to exist in this perpetual time warp, unchanging for weeks on end, until Fall and Spring make their quiet, spectacular entry.

As quickly as it comes, Fall dissipates into the dry, cold Winter. That's depressing. This gorgeous transition lasts only a few weeks at best. It's God's subtle reminder that change, while always abrupt, never lasts long, and will eventually settle into something cozy and familiar again. I guess it makes unwanted endings and scary, new beginnings a little easier to face.

All this got me thinking about friends. Old, new, those friendships just beginning, and those that are moving on. This is an interesting year for me. The majority of the friends that I started residency with are moving to the next phase of their lives after graduating from their 3-year programs. And here I am, still with a year left to go. Even friends from my past lives are starting new jobs, moving to new cities, buying houses, having babies. And here I am, hidden under the umbrella of residency, still in my same season, seemingly in perpetuity.

But I think this is actually just my Summer, where the days are warm, nurturing and endless. My Fall will make it's appearance soon; the Leaves are already changing. In January I will stop accepting new patients in my clinic. This Christmas will be the last in our house here, and this December the last season of residency holiday parties. My last on-call weekends in the newborn nursery and PICU are coming up soon, while my final Critical Care and PICU call nights are looming in the spring.

I guess for now I will treasure the changing colors, the brisk new winds, and pack up my summer clothes.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A single step...

So the journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.

Some wise person said that, back in the days when it literally meant just that. It still stretches my mind that some truths are universal, throughout space and time, language, culture, distance. We toss around philosophy as samples of universal truth. What gets me are solid facts that don't change, like that the moon is the same moon that Jesus and Galileo and Isaac Newton and Christopher Columbus and George Washington all looked at. And at how big the world is, and how small I am on it. This is like yoga for my brain.

But I digress.

My entire life has been about the destination. I have worked for 25 years with the sole intention of completing the education I have up to this point. Have I missed some sights along the way? Maybe. Probably. Who knows. I do know that I have sacrificed for it, and have had others sacrifice too. All of this begs the question: What is really important, the journey or the destination? I can hear the philosophers rising up in unison: IT IS THE JOURNEY! But is it really? For without a destination, the journey itself is only wanderings in the wilderness...

I have hesitated starting a blog, mostly because I felt that my life was not eventful enough to chronicle. We don't have kids. We don't take vacations or travel. We have few other noteworthy interests. We work. A lot. And no one wants to hear about that. We have busy lives, just like everyone, but until now it has seemed that those things were not worthy of mention.

But maybe they are. Maybe analyzing the seemingly unimportant aspects of your life is how to stop and smell the roses. My journey has been long already, and already there are pieces I have forgotten. As I turned 30 this year, I decided that I would be looking forward to the next decade of my life, rather than dwelling on the loss of the last one. This will be the decade in which I will hopefully meet my children. (No, I'm not pregnant.) Maybe this can also be a decade of personal growth and wisdom. With all that lies ahead for me, I would hope so.

So, in an effort to chronicle the journey to my next destination, here I go with my single step.